Art & Entertainment

Do You Know Sanjay Leela Bhansali Wanted To Cast Rekha, Kareena Kapoor And Rani Mukerji In ‘Heeramandi’?

Sanjay Leela Bhansali shared that for ‘Heeramandi’, he also thought of casting Pakistani actors Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan.

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali; Rekha, Kareena Kapoor And Rani Mukerji Photo: Google
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Sanjay Leela Bhansali is all set to make his OTT debut with ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’. The much-awaited series will premiere on Netflix from Wednesday, May 1. Ahead of it, the Los Angeles premiere of the mega-budget show was held in Los Angeles, and during it, SLB revealed that he wanted to make ‘Heeramandi’ into a film with Rekha, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji. Sharing how the idea of ‘Heeramandi’ has stayed with him for 18 years, Sanjay Leela Bhansali shared that the film could not materialise because it was so expansive. 

Further speaking about casting for ‘Heeramandi’, he told Lilly Singh at the LA premiere, “This was 18 years ago so at one point it was Rekha ji, Kareena and Rani Mukerji. Then it changed into another cast, then it changed into another cast.” When Lilly Singh expressed her shock, Bhansali shared that the casting was when ‘Heeramandi’ was “supposed to be a film”, set in pre-Independence Lahore, in the world of courtesans and nawabs.

Host Lilly Singh, Creator, Director, Producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria
Host Lilly Singh, Creator, Director, Producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix
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The filmmaker further made an interesting revelation that at one point, he even thought of casting Pakistani actors Mahira Khan, Fawad Khan and Imran Abbas. However, it all changed later. Not to miss, Imran, during an interview with ARY’s Shan-e-Suhoor, had mentioned that he was offered a role in Bhansali’s show. He said, “I did not refuse that, but it was shelved at the time.” 

SLB further asserted that he is “very happy with the cast” that ‘Heeramandi’ now has, including Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Richa Chadha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sharmin Segal, Taha Shah, Fardeen Khan, Shekhar Suman among others.

Premiere of Netflix series Heeramandi
Premiere of Netflix series Heeramandi Photo: PTI
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In the same conversation, Bhansali shared that the series has been in the making for almost three years, and its shoot went over for 300 days. After ‘Heeramandi’, Bhansali will now work on the next film, ‘Love and War’, starring Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor and Vicky Kaushal. Alia has previously worked with Sanjay in ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, while Ranbir made his debut as an actor with Bhansali’s film ‘Saawariya’.

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